Friday 4 December 2009

Cleaner Seas Suckups as Council nears water project completion

The $188 million Cleaner Seas project undertaken by Cairns Regional Council, is nearing completion, and so is the race to 'suck up to the boss'.

Each and every one of Cairns ratepayers, including myself, paid for the dam thing. This project was so expensive, it was the main reason our rates went up this year. Now that the lion's share of this is done and dusted, you would expect Council will reduce the rate take in next year's budget, if they know what's good for them.

However, the waste that it hasn't stopped, is what I discovered, thanks to my Council leak on level 2, known only as 'Licuala Lucy'. Scurrying through the digital rubbish bin, she found a series of emails, of some Councillors sucking up big time to a Council manager, paid about $100k more a year than they are.

The 'I love Bruce club' is not only alive and well, it has to be seen to be believed.

  • To: Bruce Gardiner
    Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 9:46 AM
    Subject: Cleaner Seas Project - significant milestone

    I am pleased to be able to advise you that the major milestone of having all 4 wastewater treatment plants meeting the new EPA license requirements for water quality by the 28 November has been achieved.

    This has been a major effort on behalf of the Alliance with 4 brownfield upgrades being delivered ahead of schedule and budget (at this stage!) in the tropical environment. The safety and environmental record of the Alliance has also been of a superior standard throughout the project and have set a benchmark for construction projects in Cairns.

    We still have work to complete on the biosolids handling side of things but the bulk of the project has now been completed.

    Thank you for your support of this $188 million project over the last 6 years.

    We will be arranging for some media on this today which will hopefully get some airing.

    Bruce Gardiner General Manager Cairns Water
    Cairns Regional Council

Now should he be writing to us, the ratepayer, thanking us for our support? In under an hour, the first email came in...

  • From: Linda Cooper
    Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 10:43 AM
    To: Bruce Gardiner
    Subject: RE: Cleaner Seas Project - significant milestone


    Please pass on my congratulations to all staff and consultants that have been involved with the Cleaner Seas project.

    Not only have you set a benchmark for construction projects in Cairns but a benchmark for other regions who will eventually be required to undergo a similar program.

    Best wishes for a great night tonight.

    Cr Linda Cooper
    Division 6 • Cairns Regional Council
Not to be outdone, a little-known Councillor Nancy Lanskey put in her two cents worth...

  • From: Nancy Lanskey
    Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 11:28 AM
    Subject: RE: Cleaner Seas Project - significant milestone

    Mr Gardiner

    Your department has done it again!

    CRC has not only the greatest green facility in waste handling with the Bedminster system, we now have the gold standard in waste water treatment.

    Congratulations to you and your dedicated team.


    Cr Nancy Lanskey
    Division 2 Cairns Regional Council

Nine minutes later, Councillor Cochrane joined the chorus of praise...

  • Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 11:37 AM
    To: Bruce Gardiner
    Subject: RE: Cleaner Seas Project - significant milestone


    Well done to all the team….. please pass on my congratulations to all involved as CRC leads the way again in this department. Before time and within budget is something worth celebrating at the departments Christmas party tonight, the notification couldn’t have come on a better day.

    Great result!!!!

    Cr Margaret Cochrane
    Deputy Mayor
    Division 8 Councillor

Another two minutes later, moments before stepping on a plane, Councillor Forsyth, not to be left out of the love-fest, scribed this well-thought out gem...
  • From Diane Forsyth
    Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 11:39 AM
    To: Gardiner Bruce
    Subject: Re: Cleaner Seas Project - significant milestone

    Well done congratulations everyone.


Whilst it's good to give credit, this is a task for a CEO. This tactic is clearly related to buying support from a manager that can in turn, help them out. I doubt it would not go un-noticed by Bruce the Wasteman.

I can see what some Councillors are up against in trying to provide impartial oversight in decision-making, when there's such a suck up to certain senior managers.


sizzle said...

um, what exactly do you mean when you say giving credit is a task for the ceo ? Maybe thats how things are done in the land of the long white cloud, but in Oz I'm glad to know that thanks is coming in from different people. Thats the way we do things in Australia, Bro !

nocturnal congress said...

Yes, nothing from the Councillors about how much it cost us the ratepayers, nor if rates will go down next year......HEY COUNCILLORS...REMEMBER US? WE'RE THE ONES WHO HAVE PAID FOR ALL OF THIS?

Peter Senior said...

I agree with Sizzle that it is appropriate for credits for 'deliver(y) ahead of schedule and budget' to be given by a range of stakeholders. No doubt the new CEO, Lyn Russell, has passed on a range of comments. However, given the inept performance of many other State and Federal departments, Cairns ratepayers could be forgiven if they asked for assurance that this $188m was spent in the optimum way. Perhaps it was. Projects of this size and complexity often have post-project reviews. The results of such a review, carried out by an independent external project auditor, should provide assurance to ratepayers, and possibly more plaudits to the Council and project team.

Smithfield Sam said...

What you refer to as "sucking up" isn't much different than your "story" about the new CEO.

Dutchie said...

I don't see a problem with giving praise where it's due. I wouldn't read too much into it.

Oliver Redlynch said...

Well I was sort of right yesterday Michael - you've now plumbed the depths of "journalism" and selective editing to be on a par with the Cairns Post. Alas from these emails I see no sucking up, but simply a number of colleagues congratulating a manager on a job well done, like any that would be sent around a major organisation in similar circumstances.

Oh shit Bruce said...

Cleaner Seas was tendered and awarded to CEC. After awarding CEC the contract the contract sum then doubled. Bruce Why?.... Bruce are you there... Bruce.... Bruce... are you there Bruce????

cutting hedge said...

Oh my golly gosh mike , I cannot believe you named the source of the leak everyone knows blakeys drag queen stage name is 'Licuala Lucy' you have blown his cover . Have you no scruples mike shame shame shame ps well done on the story.

Thaddeus said...

This is a common story...outsource to private enterprise for a specified amount...then having the private enterprise come back, cap in hand, after more money. Nothing unusual there. Check out the operations of public/private enterprises and see how much they cost the taxpayer.

Dotted Quad said...

Your articles of late are achieving something many others have failed to do previously. Single handily destroy your creditability and highlight that you crave the drama so much that when there isn’t any you just SPIN away. People have tried letters, bans and even lawyers, but as Lyn implied to you, your creditability is in free fall.

PS. When you selectively edit emails it might pay to get someone to proof them as according to your first leak Bruce was emailing himself with the good news. But I am sure you will correct that "typo" soon enough.

To: Bruce Gardiner
Sent: Friday, 27 November 2009 9:46 AM

Bruce Gardiner General Manager Cairns Water
Cairns Regional Council

hieronymus bosch said...

Didn't a similar thing just happen a few weeks ago with the tennis centre construction?

Like Ole Frenchie down in shit town. He'd underquote everyone else for the job then half way through go to the building manager, "Monsieur, what am i to do? I cannot finish the job for the said price. Croissant, sac le bleu."

Anyway, I think the point of the story is Cr Sycophant wooing and dribbling over the 'gardening man', who has the hide to call Stuey Traill a liar.

"Oh Magoo, you've done it again!"

Thaddeus said...

This was THE PROJECT which went over-budget and which caused the newly elected Val Schier as Mayor to have to hike up our rates so dramatically once she was elected.
All Councillors, excepting Rob Pyne voted for the huge hike in rates. The rest is history. Val copped the full brunt of the public backlash, whipped up by the local media, McKenzie and King.
I agree with Peter Senior above, in that I hope there is an Independent Review of the project, bearing in mind that ratepayers were asked to foot some of the bill due to CRC's inadequate costings.